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Google Asks 'Who Cares Where Your Data Is?'

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the dumbwaiter-for-bits dept.

Cloud 241

mask.of.sanity writes "The chief security officer for Google Apps, Eran Feigenbaum, said popular concerns over data sovereignty in outsourced environments are unwarranted. He said businesses should worry about security and privacy of data, rather than where it is stored. The comments clash with those made by IT pros including Gartner, who said cloud providers like Google can't be trusted with sensitive data."

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241 comments

Encrypt it then (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395232)

If the data is sensitive, you should be encrypting it anyway before passing it along to a third party thatr has no business looking at it. If the data isn't sensitive enough to encrypt, why do you care where Google keeps it?

Re:Encrypt it then (4, Insightful)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395260)

Your post fails to consider the completely reasonable choice of not handing your data off to a third party in the first place. . .

Re:Encrypt it then (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395300)

But if it's sensitive, it should still be encrypted, even if it's in your datacenter.

Re:Encrypt it then (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395310)

Your post fails to consider the completely reasonable choice of not handing your data off to a third party in the first place. . .

That is not a reasonable choice if you're a manager who's going to get a big bonus for shipping your data off to 'The Cloud' so you can close down your own data center.

Re:Encrypt it then (3, Insightful)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395742)

Just because the people in charge of your bonus are unreasonable does not suddenly mean that shipping the data off is suddenly reasonable. You might choose to make an unreasonable choice for personal financial gain, but from a data security standpoint, it's still unreasonable.

Re:Encrypt it then (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395978)

The OP addresses the reality. You're addressing a fantasy where managers are knowledgeable about IT security.

Re:Encrypt it then (2)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395930)

Your post fails to consider the completely reasonable choice of not handing your data off to a third party in the first place. . .

Your post fails to consider the value in having the "best of both worlds".

The cloud provides a real value. Staying away from it unnecessarily doesn't seem very rational. Encryption addresses the specific issue being brought up here.

Re:Encrypt it then (0)

PraiseBob (1923958) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395358)

If the data is sensitive, you should be encrypting it anyway

Sure, because if the data is encrypted, the only people who can get into it are those with gigantic server farms. (Like Google)

Besides, who would be interested in random encrypted data? It would be cost prohibitive to decrypt data to peek at it, unless there are advances in supercomputing. (Which google is actively working on)

The only company which would want to do that is one which has a business model built on collecting and monetizing private data (See: Google)

Yep. I can't see any reason why people should care about where they store cloud data.

Re:Encrypt it then (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395470)

If the data is sensitive, you should be encrypting it anyway

Sure, because if the data is encrypted, the only people who can get into it are those with gigantic server farms. (Like Google)

Besides, who would be interested in random encrypted data? It would be cost prohibitive to decrypt data to peek at it, unless there are advances in supercomputing. (Which google is actively working on)

The only company which would want to do that is one which has a business model built on collecting and monetizing private data (See: Google)

Yep. I can't see any reason why people should care about where they store cloud data.

AES256 is crackable with a complexity of 2^99.5: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Encryption_Standard [wikipedia.org]

So, if Google's advanced supercomputer can crack a billion keys/second and they have 1 billion computers at their disposal to do the cracking, it would only take them around 1 x 10^17 years to crack your data.

Of course, now that you've figured out their plan, they're going to have to kill you, and they will surely do so within 1 x 10^2 years.

Re:Encrypt it then (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395570)

Even if the data is encrypted, if you're using a virtual server in The Cloud, then the server requires the key to decrypt it, and anyone with access to that virtual machine can then read the data.

Encryption would only make the data safe if you're reading it back from The Cloud, processing it, and sending updates back to The Cloud. Which would seem an odd way to do things unless you want to have access to the same data from multiple sites around the world.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395830)

There are encryption schemes that are transparent to algorithms, i.e. you can perform analysis on the encrypted data without decrypting it first.

At least that's what a friend of mine said who's getting a Ph.D. doing medicine-related computer science.

Re:Encrypt it then (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395864)

i.e. you can perform analysis on the encrypted data without decrypting it first.

About the only analysis I can think of that you can do on properly encrypted data is cryptanalysis.

Trends in financial data, order status, anything I can think of that's useful would be obscured by the encryption. Which is, after all, the reason one encrypts the data in the first place.

Got any examples?

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395956)

I think he has misunderstood his friend. What his friend was probably driving at is that you can do statistical analysis on data that has been "anonymized" through the encryption or removal of personally identifying information such as name address and credit/loyalty card info. You are correct, properly encrypted data should be hard to differentiate from a random bit stream.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395886)

Even if the data is encrypted, if you're using a virtual server in The Cloud, then the server requires the key to decrypt it, and anyone with access to that virtual machine can then read the data.

Then don't do that -- obviously if your cloud provider has both your encyption key and encrypted data, they can decrypt the data.

if your data is so sensitive that you're worry about it residing on a disk drive in Nigeria, then you should probably be just as worried when it resides on a disk drive in your own datacenter in NYC - someone can steal it either way regardless of local laws.

Encryption would only make the data safe if you're reading it back from The Cloud, processing it, and sending updates back to The Cloud. Which would seem an odd way to do things unless you want to have access to the same data from multiple sites around the world.

Many applications have sensitive data that a few people should have access to, and non-sensitive data that the world can see. So use client-side Javascript to PGP encrypt sensitive data before it's stored in the cloud. Then client side PGP (or a thick client) on your employee's workstations will let them decrypt the data, without giving Google a chance to see it at all.

Re:Encrypt it then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395892)

"Even if the data is encrypted, if you're using a virtual server in The Cloud, then the server requires the key to decrypt it, and anyone with access to that virtual machine can then read the data."

I made this same argument at work (Fortune 10 company), nobody had apparently thought of that - not only does your 'cloud' application need the key, but we also outsource most of the coding to India, Mexico, etc. If you lay off one of those people (or, uh, 'end their contract') they could potentially walk with the key and post it on the 'net, giving millions of potential hackers the key to get to your 'cloud data' (this holds even if your app is internal using the cloud only for data storage).

With your data internal, presumably behind firewalls fully under your control, the "outside world" can't get to your data (of course it doesn't stop some employee/coder from maliciously getting it - but then you have someone to charge with theft of sensitive data, rather than millions of random people on the 'net).

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395934)

"Even if the data is encrypted, if you're using a virtual server in The Cloud, then the server requires the key to decrypt it, and anyone with access to that virtual machine can then read the data."

I made this same argument at work (Fortune 10 company), nobody had apparently thought of that - not only does your 'cloud' application need the key, but we also outsource most of the coding to India, Mexico, etc. If you lay off one of those people (or, uh, 'end their contract') they could potentially walk with the key and post it on the 'net, giving millions of potential hackers the key to get to your 'cloud data' (this holds even if your app is internal using the cloud only for data storage).

Why do your developers have the encryption key to the production database? No single person should have access to the complete key. And you should rotate keys regularly so even if someone does steal your key, it has a limited lifetime.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395980)

Encryption would only make the data safe if you're reading it back from The Cloud, processing it, and sending updates back to The Cloud. Which would seem an odd way to do things unless you want to have access to the same data from multiple sites around the world.

It's not and odd way to do things. It's very rational. If you use your own encryption, it works just like any other encrypted file. The server can't read it, because you never give it the key.

And you don't need to have to want access from around the world. You can simply want access from more than one computer or device. Even in the same home, you might want to have a file that you can open from any computer. And even if you only have one computer, the cloud makes for a good backup.

Re:Encrypt it then (5, Interesting)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395404)

If the data isn't sensitive enough to encrypt, why do you care where Google keeps it?

Sensitive or no, Google has no right to snoop on your data.

Besides, what may not be sensitive when you've got it, can become sensitive when someone else has got it.

For example: you and a friend both own half of a secret password. One piece alone is worthless, so you don't mind if Google knows your half. Similarly, your friend doesn't care if Google knows his half. Result: Google knows both halves.

What's true for passwords is also true for people's information profiles in general. Company A might know where you buy diapers, company B knows what movies you watch, company C knows your address, etc.

Re:Encrypt it then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395640)

And yet.. none of this escapes the simple fact that if your data is sensitive, encrypt that shit.

If you trust Google, or any other remote storage solution, and they are trustworthy then it will not matter if you encrypt it or not. They won't snoop, and you won't have lost anything. If you trust them and they are not trustworthy, your sensitive data is encrypted. Not a perfect outcome, but at least they'll have to do some work. And you can hope that the data becomes obsolete before its broken.

But more to the point, even if you trust Google (or.. yourself, if you're going to store your data yourself) you should encrypt it. Do you trust everybody that has access to the connection you transfer the data? In Google's case, that'll be ... anybody with an internet connection. Google won't be perfect. If their security is bypassed, in whatever fashion, are you going to tell your customers that "oh.. but we trusted Google, so we didn't bother to encrypt your data" .. yeah. That'll totally blow up in Google's face, not yours. If you store it yourself, internally, do you trust all the employees? "So, uh.. turns out Mark over in Custodial.. uh.. well, broke into the server during the nightly cleaning shift and stole all the unecrypted data.. we trusted ourselves, y'know"

and, just to point out.. if you have one half of a secret password, why in the fuck would you not care if someone else knows your half? The point of secrets is to not have them spread around.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395718)

The only problem is that algorithms deal quite badly with encrypted data. Your solution is only viable if you want to store the data and do nothing else with it, what I'd have to say, is a quite bad architecture. You'd better saving everything into /dev/null.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395754)

You must be watching some unbelievably entertaining movies, to be so engrossed that you would spend money to save the precious few second delay required for a lavatory break...

Re:Encrypt it then (2)

bruceg (14365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395478)

If the data is sensitive, you should be encrypting it anyway before passing it along to a third party that has no business looking at it. If the data isn't sensitive enough to encrypt, why do you care where Google keeps it?

Ayup. Fire up truecrypt, and be done with it.

Re:Encrypt it then (2)

rasmusbr (2186518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395492)

Realistically speaking, how are you going to get your employees to never use the built-in save function in their apps?

My understanding, correct me if I'm wrong, is that the "save" button will essentially work as a button that uploads a document to the cloud. Each separate app would need its own built-in encryption and decryption if it's going to be practical from a user perspective.

Re:Encrypt it then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395960)

All that is necessary is a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which holds the public key of each employee and the private key held by the employee. This way the organization, not the cloud service provider, controls the encryption/decryption and only the data stored in the cloud is encrypted. For applications running in the cloud there should be a requirement that each "session" is isolated from all others and no clear-text version of the data while used can exist outside of that particular session.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

doublebackslash (702979) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395642)

Okay. I'll bite.

Yes encrypting the data is good enough http://everything2.com/title/Thermodynamics+limits+on+cryptanalysis [everything2.com] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover's_algorithm [wikipedia.org] (if quantum computers come up then grover's algorithm still isn't much use. See the max speedup of the algorithm)

However...
effing HOW? I can't even get people to use PARAMETERIZED QUERIES. How in the HELLS am I going to get them to use a crypto system?

Sure, I can make it easy to some degree, but then how do we do queries on anything but the unencrypted bits? Sure, there are ways (oh there are ways. Each more devilishly complex and mathematically involved than the last)

Than we have to store the keys. So many keys... and the IVs and the data to know what information they point to >_<

Now where to put the keys... gonna need to be FAST and reliable. Gee, it sure would be nice if someone had an infrastructure for that sort of thing... Aww hell.

Re:Encrypt it then (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395694)

Whether or not it's sensitive why would I want to give it to Google?

Obligatory XKCD (2, Insightful)

RDW (41497) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395234)

Re:Obligatory XKCD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395286)

Oh oh oh!!1!!11oneone11elevenI saw this word on XKCD. I better link to it, even though I don't understand anything about the topic and the comic has nothing to do with the content.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395334)

Yeah, but this time I think it is relevant.

I very much care if my data is in Hat Guy's living room.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395738)

Pssst. The GP never got the joke, but he think he did. Don't disrupt him.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395548)

Huh? What's that got to do with data privacy and security?

Re:Obligatory XKCD (1)

the_bard17 (626642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395588)

Because if "Doesn't Have a Hat Guy" trips over that cord, your data will be very private, and very secure. So much that you won't be able to access it, either.

xkcd "comics" are never obligatory. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395730)

Please don't post links to xkcd "comics". They are never obligatory. They aren't funny. They aren't insightful. They aren't intelligent. In fact, most of them are half-assed variations on jokes or observations that are decades or even centuries old. There are indeed clever web comics out there, but xkcd is never one of them.

Re:Obligatory XKCD (-1, Offtopic)

slashstasher (2250594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395832)

See bud, what a crappy site slashdot is?
Thats is the sole reason I post goatse links here.
I really feel your pain, and suggest you start doing the same as I do.
(At least I am not frustrated over each -1 mod I get from crazy mods)

Gartner says this? (2, Insightful)

waddgodd (34934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395246)

I'm sorry, but on the trust scale, Google, who has yet to lie to me, wins big over Gartner, who lies through their teeth every time they review a product. I still recall Gartner recommending WinME. 'Nuff said there....

Re:Gartner says this? (3, Insightful)

Bloodwine77 (913355) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395280)

I don't trust Google with my sensitive data because I assume it will be analyzed, packaged, and sold to marketers and advertisers. I have some faith that it is anonymized first, but even still I don't like it and you have to wonder how anonymous the data actually is.

I would rather retain 100% control of access to my data.

Re:Gartner says this? (2)

SuperQ (431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395592)

Not how it works, sorry. Have you ever heard of any "marketers and advertisers" getting data from google? It doesn't happen. People buy ads for keywords and Google does the matching bits.

If it were true that "marketers and advertisers" could get your data, even anonymized, I could go and buy it through the sale service right now.

Re:Gartner says this? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395948)

I don't trust Google with my sensitive data because I assume it will be analyzed, packaged, and sold to marketers and advertisers. I have some faith that it is anonymized first, but even still I don't like it and you have to wonder how anonymous the data actually is.

I would rather retain 100% control of access to my data.

If you think any company will NOT sell any data they can regarding you on the free market you are living on cloud cuckoo land. Companies all exist to turn a profit, and if data regarding you is profitable then you can be sure they will sell it.

Re:Gartner says this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395292)

i have to somewhat agree. if they protect your data well enough, through encryption and not giving the password to anybody that asks without a real warrant (and picking a country that respects human rights) i would say they can store my data on the moon, if the connection is fast enough.

it only becomes a problem if they do adequately protect your data from whoever wants to access it without very good reason.

Re:Gartner says this? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395338)

The problem here is that, while Gartner is indeed utterly useless, their opinion is also unnecessary to determine that Google is oozing nonsense.

Different jurisdictions have different laws on the books about what data are considered specially protected, what data are an open book for the local feds, and what data require some sort of judicial approval(and to what degree that approval is a serious consideration or a simple rubber-stamp). Therefore, the jurisdiction in which your data are located(or where your outsourcing partner has offices large enough that the local feds can motivate them to comply) is part of rather than opposed to worrying about the privacy and security of your data.

Google certainly doesn't seem to be the worst when it comes to rolling over and wagging their tail for any jackboots who come calling; but anybody who thinks that they put up extra-legal resistance to any of the major powers in which they operate is, shall we say, under the influence of excessive optimism...

Re:Gartner says this? (4, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395344)

Um, but Google *is* definitely lying to you. You don't need to compare reputations. What Google is saying is simply, obviously wrong: that you can trust them with read/write access to your data. Sure, if your data is something that would be of minimal value, there's no harm in it leaking. But if your data is sensitive, then unless Google is willing to indemnify you for whatever damages you'll be liable for if the data leaks, you have a fiduciary responsibility not to store your data on a Google server. And as far as I understand it, Google is not willing to indemnify you for that (realistically, how could they?).

So independent of anything Gartner says, what Google is saying is at the very least misleading for the application they are talking about. The sense in which Google is right is that if you aren't taking any precautions to protect the security of your data, either because you can't afford to or because you don't know how to, then it may well be no *worse* for you to store your data on a Google server. But if that's the case, you don't care about security anyway, so Google's entire claim is moot.

Re:Gartner says this? (1, Interesting)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395348)

By now when I see that Gartner is at one point of an argument, the other party immediately gains points for acting against Gartner. It's starting to be like Godwin's law; once Gartner chooses your side, you loose :)

Re:Gartner says this? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395780)

What if Gartner has figured that out already, and is taking contrary positions to drive you toward their goals...

Re:Gartner says this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395800)

Google has yet to lie to you? Oh but they have...you just haven't been paying attention. How gullible.

Re:Gartner says this? (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395940)

Yes Google has never done anything that raised privacy concerns *eyeroll*

What! (3, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395268)

  1. 1. Article is worthless.
  2. 2. Security and privacy of data are affected by where the data is stored.
  3. 3. Article is worthless.

Re:What! (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395314)

First rule of having a meaningful discussion: argument your case.

Re:What! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395384)

OK, then I will throw something else out....

        How do you take action against people who do you arm in foreign jurisdictions?

        Where is the control and accountability in such situations?

      When it came to proprietary software, the oft brought up issue was "who do you sue" or
"who can you blame when something goes wrong"? Well, that question applies to all forms
of outsourcing too, including all of this "Cloud" stuff.

        I've seen the likes of Iron Mountain mutiliate backup tapes for Fortune 500 companies.

        What chance does an individual have with Google.

        Plus, anything that is "personal" is by definition irreplaceable and unrecoverable.

        How much do you really trust ANY corporations with your family documents?

Why this "story" is terrible (5, Insightful)

traindirector (1001483) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395700)

*sigh*. Okay. I thought it was obvious why this "story" is not quality discussion material, but I'll explain.

The article is presented as if its subject is Eran Feigenbaum's claim that "Professionals should worry about security and privacy of data, rather than where it is stored." But instead the article is a potpourri of quotations and facts unrelated to the main problem with the claim, which the article totally ignores. Any article on the subject of this claim needs to in some way establish that security and privacy can make location irrelevant, and I would expect the supporting statements of the article to do this, but nothing in the story even approaches this basic aspect of the claim. Instead, it is filled with a number of superficially-seemingly-related-but-ultimately-off-topic anecdotes.

After presenting Feigenbaum's main claim, the article presents a "supporting argument" by Feigenbaum: "He cited a meeting in Europe where he had tracked an email sent within an office as it bounced through five countries. In this circumstance, Feigenbaum said, security trumps data sovereignty." So email currently goes through a lot of countries when it is sent from one person in an office to another, where it is likely in plain text and can be read by any number of corporate and government entities. The only way this could possibly be construed as supportive of Feigenbaum's point is if read as "Email currently goes through many nations and it is secure enough". If read with any understanding of how the email system works, it undermines Feigenbaum's point.

Then the article has Michael Cloppert "support" the argument with the same type of claim: "I'm not convinced that the data location issue is a problem - after all, packets are routinely routed around the world irrespective of the export status of their content". Again, the argument is "this is what we're doing now, therefore it is secure enough". Actual security of information going through various nations is not addressed.

Then it presents the "other side" of the argument: There is no way you can know how Google is handling your data even though they assure you they are doing it well. And their contracts have lots of language that could excuse them from legal liability if that is not the case.

Then we go back the argument supporting Feigenbaum's main point. "He said customer data can only be accessed on a need-to-know basis". This does not support 5he argument that privacy and security make location irrelevant. "[L]ess than two per cent of Google staff had entered its top secret data centres". This does not support the argument that privacy and security make location irrelevant. "Google also stamped each hard drive with unique barcodes that allowed the company to track the lifecycle of data stored on each disk." This does not support the argument that privacy and security make location irrelevant.

Then we are presented with this: "But it did not encrypt data at rest, and had no immediate plans to introduce the protection." This makes it sound like location is very important to security and privacy--that someone could entire a facility by force and read the data.

The article acheives nothing other than quoting a single-sentence, questionable claim. It presents the claim, then a number of partially related statements that are presented as "discussion" of the claim but that actually have very little to do with it. I wouldn't be surprised if the article twists what Feigenbaum actually said for sensationalistic purposes.

This article represents the worst type of "journalism".

Re:Why this "story" is terrible (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395828)

Well done, of course now I'll have to move to the next article.

Smart-Ass version of parent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395858)

Dude, you could've just said ,"OK, I'll store all your data over a fault, near a volcano, in a tsunami prone coastal town, in a country run by a government that has no concept of privacy or property rights BUT it'll be encrypted. No one will have a problem with that, right?"

With Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395272)

I know where your data is. I know it's located in a few data centers. I can kill those data centers and your business is dead.

Yes the cloud is 'mostly ok' if used for non-critical fluff and some processing power but I'd never trust google as far as I could throw a federal pig.

When I can store data on disparate servers in such a manner that it's cryptographically secure, the complete and utter destruction of any two cloud providers will not effect me I'll consider them for slightly more use.

Re:With Google (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395418)

I know where your data is. I know it's located in a few data centers. I can kill those data centers and your business is dead.

If you have the power to kill a few Google datacenters, why don't you just use that power to kill the business directly?

Ummm... What? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395284)

Obviously, it is Feigenbaum's job to exude nonsense where required; but the notion that worrying about where something is stored isn't part of(much less opposed to) "worry[ing] about security and privacy of data" is transparent absurdity.

Where data are, in part, determines what laws(and de-facto uses and abuses of power) they are subject to or subject to the protection of. In a number of cases(including the not-exactly-economically-insignificant case of EU businesses working with American cloud entities...) it might even turn out that storing certain sorts of data in some jurisdictions means that a given entity is in violation of data protection laws at home because the data protection laws are insufficiently strong where they are storing data.

Things like whether or not you are getting hacked by lulzsec are, of course, also important; but(until Google transforms itself into a cypherpunk utopia or sprouts a formidable nuclear deterrent), location is right up there with hackers in determining how likely your data are to be absconded with against your wishes. And(unlike hackers) you can't really code your way past the feds...

Privacy of data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395294)

If you're worried about the privacy of data, then storing it with the world's largest data mining and advertising company isn't a good first step.

security and privacy not related to who has data? (1)

markk (35828) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395306)

I don't think the Google exec is listening to himself. If I am concerned with the security and privacy of my data then where it is stored and who has access to it are going to be pretty close to the top of the list of thing to be concerned about. Google still might be an ok place for it, but exec's saying things like this make me more than a little uneasy.

Re:security and privacy not related to who has dat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395382)

If it is encrypted data which is being stored there should be no problem with it. The problem lies in that Google has access to raw unencrypted data.

Oh Please! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395320)

I didn't hear anything about Sony having their data outsourced. It didn't seem to do any good to keep sensitive data on their own servers. I think the lesson here is that all data on any networked device is at risk.

Re:Oh Please! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395580)

I agree. I hear all the time that people are so afraid of their personal data being in the hands of Google yet they don't question their bank, their small time doctors office, the IRS (which has a horrible security record), the local library, or even the government itself storing their personal and financial information on their servers that may or may not be encrypted or security tested at all. Like it or not, our information is out there in the "cloud" Google or not. It makes no sense to me. We live in this world and have for years/decades. Get used to it. If you want something to worry about, worry about global warming or the drunk driver that you may pass on your way home. Identity theft I can recover from, but death by drink driver or my planet dying around me I cannot. ;-)

Re:Oh Please! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395630)

Oh those are just terrible lies. I mean we have the nuclear football plugged right into the internet. Right over there!

Where data is stored (1)

darealpat (826858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395324)

...does impact on security (real and perceived, which impacts on trust).

One can say that it is more important to trust the provider of the data storage than to trust the location. What makes any particular location untrustworthy if not the security that one can bring to bear? One provider may simply not be able to be as disciplined with their security protocols than another, while being in an area that is deemed to be more secure...like comparing Palo Alto and Namibia.

data sovereignty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395354)

I agree, the primary concern should be data sovereignty. However, if one ignores where it is kept, and how and by whom, whether in house or outsourced, they are not doing their due diligence.

We've all seen companies with data kept "in house" that was raided in recent years. And unless one can be sure about the outsourced employees allowed in/near/at their data, they can't be trusted either.

Either or? (5, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395356)

Why should we be concerned only with security/privacy of data OR the actual location of the storage? Can't we care about both?

Split it up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395364)

Split each byte of data up and store parts on 10-15 different clouds. That way you have redundancy (if several clouds go down you still have enough data from the others to reconstruct your data) and security (if an attacker compromises any cloud they won't be able to get your data).

Re:Split it up (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395564)

Split each byte of data up and store parts on 10-15 different clouds. That way you have redundancy (if several clouds go down you still have enough data from the others to reconstruct your data) and security (if an attacker compromises any cloud they won't be able to get your data).

oh please, for the love of god don't suggest this, i don't think i can handle the next marketing wave of CloudRAID or RAIDCloud.

What's the Alternative? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395378)

Given the number of breaches (most unreported ones by employees and former employees), it seems that hosting it elsewhere is the least of our problems. In fact, if done right, it's likely that it's more secure elsewhere because that makes it harder for the number 1 breacher (employees) to get to it.

Yeah, yeah, I know, we are supposed to ignore what actually happens and instead focus on targeted corporate breaches like anyone really cares what we do for a living.

Re:What's the Alternative? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395770)

That will only open the gate for the employees of the cloud service to get your data. And those are even less loyal to your company, and you have even less control over them than your ones.

It all comes down to TOS. (3, Interesting)

Infernal Device (865066) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395386)

I'm not comfortable keeping data entrusted to me on a provider who can walk away from a data loss with no penalties due to the Terms of Service.

At least when it's on my systems, someone is going to take a fall for data loss, even if it's me. And I'm OK with that.

They don't believe it themselves (5, Insightful)

mrjatsun (543322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395408)

How much are they willing to compensate me if they lose my data? What, they won't? Don't trust themselves?

Re:They don't believe it themselves (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395626)

How much are they willing to compensate me if they lose my data?

Well that depends. How much are you willing to pay to have it stored?

I sort of care (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395412)

for la-de-da things yea who cares, when your trying to get stuff done and you cant cause your document is on the cloud, which is experiencing outages, or your internet just shat on itself then yea I care where my durn spreadsheet is when someone is breathing down my neck asking for a shipping update from Indonesia

Security and Privacy depends on Where (1)

smoothnorman (1670542) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395420)

"He said businesses should worry about security and privacy of data, rather than where it is stored." -- but those aren't separate concepts. Should I worry about security if my data is located at Sony corp? Or privacy if my data is on Facebook? security and privacy is very much a function of "where", and of: "who buys out the company next". The only where where one might have some sense of security or privacy is on a drive that you control.

location, location, location (1, Insightful)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395434)

The US has already proved it will do whatever it wants, unwarranted, in the name of Intellectual Property Protection. What's to stop another country from doing the same thing for any number of warrant-less reasons and never giving the data back?

That's Google for you. (2)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395436)

If that's the case why doesn't Google store its data with Amazon or Microsoft? I'm sure both Amazon and Microsoft will give Google a deal on data storage.

Re:That's Google for you. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395560)

If that's the case why doesn't Google store its data with Amazon or Microsoft? I'm sure both Amazon and Microsoft will give Google a deal on data storage.

I think because it's more expensive and has higher latency. For a small business, Amazon S3 is much cheaper than an enterprise storage system and if you use availability zones and regions wisely, you can end up with an extremely robust storage system for not a whole lot of money.

But when you already have datacenters across the country and require petabytes of storage, it's generally cheaper to buy your own storage directly rather than buy from a intermediary... or even create your own cheap storage systems from scratch. At the scale of Google, I don't see how Amazon or MS can sell storage for less than what it would cost Google to purchase.

Plus, having the storage close to their servers means lower latency and higher performance.

Re:That's Google for you. (1)

BLToday (1777712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395644)

Sorry, I meant my statement along the line of "if you expect your customers to trust a 3rd party, then you should also trust a 3rd party." If Google thinks that location doesn't matter than they should store it with their competitors.

Can't get there from here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395484)

I care about the location of my data, because not having it local means that it has to travel over severely bandwidth constrained connections. We don't yet live in a world where everyone has 10-GigE connectivity, so having data reside locally means faster read/write. That seems to be important to people, or they wouldn't be buying SSDs and using RAID0. My 15/2 connection (which is really 1/1 during most of the day) makes network data about as fast as accessing a floppy disk.

Google seems to be ignorant of the law (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395510)

First, it may actually be a legal requirement keeping the date in a certain jurisdiction. And second, any law enforcement or TLA access to the data will be governed by the laws of the place the date is physically stored. If the Google people do not understand that, one more reason to not hand your data to them.

Re:Google seems to be ignorant of the law (2)

celesteh (1864708) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395566)

Indeed, under UK data protection laws, you need the permission of users to host their data outside of the EU. If Google doesn't understand that, then they're writing off EU customers.

Hmm... I know a few people who do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395590)

I think a few people who might care would be things like the US Government when it comes to export laws. The governments of various EU countries with data protection laws, etc.

PATRIOT ACT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395600)

I care because I'm Canadian. If I keep my data up here it's not subjected to the almighty Patriot Act. Case Closed.

Re:PATRIOT ACT (2)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395784)

Seconded. In healthcare and in Ontario, we need to make sure we have at least a copy of our data in our province.

they are above the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395612)

google = skynet

IP = Value (2)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395628)

Its not about securing data. Its not even about Google mis-using demographics.

Its about privacy and business value.

Most businesses are valued based on their assets, stock on hand and good will. Good will is a measure of the number of customers who continue to use the business regularly.

Good will is typically measured by looking at the CRMs and counting the number of client files that are active. Take that away, and you can no longer measure good will.

So, why does Cloud computing threaten good will? I'm glad you asked. Many consumers continue to conduct business with a particular company because 'they have my records'. Its not some kind of corporate blackmail. Its easy for the customer to continue to do business with the people that know them. This customer knowledge is held in corporate CRMs.

As soon as it becomes widely known that all CRM data is in the Cloud, there will be a gradual transition (thanks to FOI laws) of the ownership of the data moving back to the individuals instead of residing with the companies. Microsoft's HealthVault is case in point. When my medical records are owned by ME instead of owned by my doctor, I can choose to get healthcare anywhere.

There are great arguments in favour of the concept. Client service will improve out of sight when it is the yardstick for comparing companies (instead of possession of CRM data). However, show me one businessman who is prepared to give his goodwill into Google's custody, and I'll show you a big risk-taker.

If your data is sensitive... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395656)

Host it yourself.

Depending on what your line of business is, this may not be feasible. If you're a startup that's begging for capital, well, beggars can't be choosers.

OTOH, if you're just having a site hosted that has no real sensitivity to it, what does it matter? Put it in a cheap cloud hosting service and be done with it.

Strawman argument (2)

codegen (103601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395670)

Googles example of an intraoffice message being routed around the world is a classic strawman argument. It's not the individual intraoffice messages that might bounce outside the data centre (possible due to a .forward on an individual account) that worries me. That's a needle in a haystack (although the searching algs are getting much better). It is the fact that the entire storage of read and unread (i.e. webmail,imap) ends up on a server that may be in a different legal jurisdiction (and for my University, it is a different legal jurisdiction). Or, if you adopt google docs, all of your documents are stored in google's servers (and without encryption to boot!!). One US court subpoena, warrant or NSL, and all your data is vacuumed. Even though some recent cases have strengthened the notification requirement, you have to fight the subpoena or warrant in a US court under US law.

If you are just using google as a disk drive, then you can encrypt your data, but if you are actually using the google services, forget it.

"Who cares where your data is?" (0)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395672)

YOU

Kazakhstan (1)

KPexEA (1030982) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395712)

I want my data stored in Google's new datacenter in Kazakhstan.

Re:Kazakhstan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395766)

Be careful that no one accidently spills fermented horse urine on the servers and you lose your data.

I have two teenaged daughters (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395734)

From the time that they knew what the Internet was, I've tried to impress one rule upon their minds, "never put anything on the Internet that you're not willing to see on the front page of the newspaper."

That goes for email, "the cloud", discussion forums, blogs, etc. While various courts disagree with me, I don't think that there is any reasonable expectation of privacy in any communication sent over the Internet. IP packets are like handing a postcard to a stranger who happens to be traveling from Orange County to Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, the postcard gets handed off to someone else that happens to be traveling to Aspen, Colorado where it ends up in the hands of someone traveling to St. Louis. In St. Louis, a kind stranger picks it up and carries it as far as Chicago where yet another person picks it up and carries it to Cleveland. In Cleveland, someone carries it to NYC. And the postcard just sort of sits in NYC until someone headed to the a particular neighborhood notices that the address is close to home, picks it up and carries it to the mailbox.

If someone wants to send a "private" message in such a situation, the need for encryption is obvious.

So, yes, one should be wary about storing sensitive information in the cloud and where it resides in the cloud is mostly irrelevant. Even if the data center is in the most secure of locations, to get there the packets had to travel through all sorts of insecure locations.

Re:I have two teenaged daughters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395946)

I have two teenaged daughters

Pics, or it didn't happen.

Never mind, found 'em on Facebook. Pity they inherited your looks.

Because sovereigns can't be trusted (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395764)

The EU can't allow their stuff to be hosted in the US where unwarranted and secretive searches are the norm. The US won't allow their stuff to be hosted in the EU because they can't trust the individual states to do the same to them.

The only solution is client-side encryption where Google etc. hosts only encrypted data and can't have access to the keys. There are projects that are working on this but this means the 'cloud' won't be hosting everything but a more hybrid approach is necessary.

IRS (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395802)

Form 637 [irs.gov] :

5. List the address where your books and records are kept (if different from the address in Part I)

Just the first hit I got off Google.

Re:IRS (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395962)

Form 637:

5. List the address where your books and records are kept (if different from the address in Part I)

"The Cloud".

Better yet. Move everything offshore and become an employee of a foreign corporation. If the IRS wants any info. they can write to the address in Grand Caymen. I don't know sh*t. I just work for them.

Sometimes, not knowing something works to your advantage (it worked for Reagan).

I care where my data is. (2)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395804)

Until we have one world government, differing laws on data privacy mean you have added considerable complexity for the savings of using their cloud. Maybe it is a worthwhile trade-off, maybe not. But he is silly making such a blanket statement. If you work for a company that contracts with the US Government you may be aware of ITAR and the various rules about where data can be stored.

In general, to me, the cost savings is far over shadowed by the increased risk. Even if you mitigate the risk by doing your homework and picking a state with laws that you agree with...you've just spent quite some time and money on that research.

Security 101 (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395806)

1. If it's sensitive then it shouldn't be on the internet in any manner including hosting. 2. Knowing your legal rights is relevant, and that requires knowing where your data is hosted. If beach pictures of your wife violate Iranian law then they shouldn't be hosted in Iran. 3. Known risks. If you work for a European aircraft builder and you're trying to beat out a major American aircraft builder for a large contract then you best not host your trade secrets in the USA.

LOL (1)

Javit (68742) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395852)

This guy's got to be kidding me. Upton Sinclair said it best: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

Google Asks 'Who Cares Where Your Data Is?' (-1, Redundant)

djlowe (41723) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395910)

Google Asks 'Who Cares Where Your Data Is?'

Answer: I care. Personally, and professionally.

End of discussion.

Regards,

dj

Is Google's CSO on crack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36395966)

Of course it matters... a lot. Google has yet to establish itself as a trusted entity, and with possible ties to the government, it just makes it that much easier for big brother to snoop on your data. Imagine that - all the government has to do now is make copies of your virtual machines (files) and they have everything they want. Look what happened to Amazon recently. As the CSO of a large Fortune 500, I don't trust any cloud provider.

Who cares where their data is stored? (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36395976)

Maybe he should ask Citigroup credit card holders?

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